devotional

13JUL
2014

Why Eternal Life Is Eternal

 

The fact that there are any teachers or preachers in the Christian church who actually teach that a true salvation can in any way be lost is a very sad reality. We should work to combat this great error wherever we find it. We must do so poignantly yet also with meekness, love and patience. There is perhaps no other doctrine that spiritually reveals an underlying heart condition like the doctrine I love coined, “The Perseverance of the Saints.” The London Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689, chapter 17, introduces this lovely doctrine like this:

Those whom God hath accepted in the beloved, effectually called and sanctified by his Spirit, and given the precious faith of his elect unto, can neither totally nor finally fall from the state of grace, but shall certainly persevere therein to the end, and be eternally saved, seeing the gifts and callings of God are without repentance, whence he still begets and nourisheth in them faith, repentance, love, joy, hope, and all the graces of the Spirit unto immortality; and though many storms and floods arise and beat against them, yet they shall never be able to take them off that foundation and rock which by faith they are fastened upon; notwithstanding, through unbelief and the temptations of Satan, the sensible sight of the light and love of God may for a time be clouded and obscured from them, yet he is still the same, and they shall be sure to be kept by the power of God unto salvation, where they shall enjoy their purchased possession, they being engraven upon the palm of his hands, and their names having been written in the book of life from all eternity.
(John 10:28, 29; Philippians 1:6; 2 Timothy 2:19; 1 John 2:19; Psalms 89:31, 32; 1 Corinthians 11:32; Malachi 3:6).

     I love that old hymn Blessed Assurance. That’s what the faith is- a blessed assurance. The tares among the wheat are often only emboldened to more sin by an introduction to the doctrine of perseverance, but the church is endeared to its Savior by it with every increase of knowledge of its pledge. The unlearned and unstable twist it into a, “(sarcastic tone) Well, so then let’s just do whatever” kind of madness, but the elect have Romans 6:1 resound in their hearts in light of it. It is in the rays of such a certain love from God that those made perfect by it only bloom.

     1 John 2:13 says, “…I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one…” Any reader truly in Christ (John’s audience) is to read that in a present state of overcoming. They have (past tense already/indefinitely) overcome the evil one. In Romans 5:1 Paul says, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Reader, this is eternal life. Your sin has to be utterly, irrevocably, and perfectly gone in every sense of the word “entirely” to ever declare such things. To “overcome” Satan; to stand at, “Peace with God” means the enmity has been removed between you and God, (Cf. Colossians 2:13-15). Sin and the wrath it comes with is the problem. Never forget that it only took one sin to condemn us and the entire universe. If you’re now going to declare you have peace with such a holy being it’d better be unquestionable. SIN is the problem. That problem must be absolutely gone to have “peace” with God, or to “overcome” the devil. It has to be. This is eternal life. Jesus is no probation officer. Salvation (true regeneration) is not something you can lose.

     Oh, how the hearts of the redeemed rejoice to read: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” 1 Peter 1:3-5. This is just a recap of what Jesus meant when He said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life,” John 5:24. Oh, what a blessed assurance I have. Oh, how it keeps me from sinning! How could I sin against such a lovely grace? Oh, how I want others to know it, and to love it! I have to tell. I have to tell! I will never die. Come see the one who told me everything I’ve ever done, and then told me that I will never die. Those who teach these promises can be removed by God have, at best, a perishable, defile-able, un-reserved probationary understanding of life in Christ; they do not teach an eternal life rightly.

     Christians actually have peace with God. What a statement! The penalty for all our sin, past, present and future is completely gone. It must be to ever at any time say we have “eternal” life. If sin was not completely propitiated we’d have to play the, “You must die in full confession” game, or the “Did I confess all my sins just right today” game. We’d have to wonder with each sinful hour whether or not the blood removed it. We’d have to wonder if we’re going to heaven, and all of Christ’s “assurances” would be nothing but empty finger-crossings and tit-for-tats. This is not Christianity! We should continually confess sin, but this is in light of so great a salvation, not to retain it. GOD DOES NOT REDEEM US UNTO PROBATION; HE REDEEMS UNTO ETERNAL LIFE! Christ does not deliver from Egypt only to kill in the wilderness. He does not begin to build a tower without being sure that He can finish it. He does not go to war unless He’s sure He can win. He has won. The cross-work is finished. God does not enter into marriage and then divorce. He has no false pretenses about us and our futures when He saves us at the first, and we know that He knows all things from eternity. We are all Gomers, and He is the consummate Hosea.

     Eternal life is just that- eternal. It doesn’t end. If it does it can never be called eternal at any point along the way! If you have it you’re kept by it. 

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